Judged as ‘Excellent’ by Estyn (Education and Training Inspectorate for Wales), Coleg Elidyr is increasingly acclaimed by others in recognition of its high quality education and training. Providing young adults with moderate to severe learning difficulties and disabilities with unique opportunities to improve their lives, we are the only Further Education College in Wales to have been formally accredited by the National Autistic Society. Typically, around half of our students have autism and we recognise that the practice we have in place to support them is of benefit to all students and staff. Thus far in 2019 we have been commended within the Association of Colleges Beacon’s Award for Student Support and have been shortlisted for the 2nd year by the Times Education Supplement Further Education Awards ‘Specialist Provider of the Year’. As a residential college, opportunities and support for learning and personal development at Coleg Elidyr span daily timetabled sessions and residential living environments. This 24 hour approach to our curriculum means our House managers and the Heads of programmes working closely to identify bespoke education and training programmes and monitor individuals’ progress towards destination goals. College life is underpinned by our commitment to Total Communication ensuring all students are given every opportunity to understand and to be understood. A breadth of communication resources and approaches along with a recognition of individual communication needs and preferences, not only empowers individuals to maximise their achievements while at College but ensures they are best prepared for post-college adult living and the challenges that will bring. The curriculum at Coleg Elidyr was originally inspired by the educational and social philosophies of Rudolf Steiner and Karl König. It emphasises experiential, practical learning and offers a blend of practical skills, arts and crafts and skills for independent living that aims to enable individuals to move from ‘doing’ to ‘understanding’. Through living, learning and working together, individuals have opportunities to develop their skills and abilities and grow in self-confidence. Each student follows a personalised learning programme according to their own abilities, needs and aspirations. Work experiences on the college site and with local businesses and organisations are integral to each individual’s education and training programme. Two formal placement options are offered through the Foundation Education programme and our Inclusive Lives Provision. We provide up to 52 weeks per annum residential provision on the College site and in Victoria House in nearby Llangadog. We also provide supported living opportunities through our wholly-owned subsidiary company Towy Valley Care.
Foundation Education Programme
Typically, the Foundation Education programme spans two academic years. However, where the complexities of an individual’s needs are deemed to require it, this can be extended to a three year placement. The programme has a focus on experiential learning. The college farm, garden, shop, craft workshops and work experience opportunities provide a broad range of ‘learning through doing’ opportunities. Learners experience a carousel of different work areas in Year 1 which inform their choices in Year 2. Learners can choose pathways in Hospitality, retail and catering, land, and craft-based learning. Learning Pathways are underpinned by a core curriculum comprising Personal Development and Citizenship (PDC) sessions, Essential Skills and Total Communication. This wholly person-centred programme combines both accredited and unaccredited learning outcomes. Working closely with individual learners, House managers, Tutors, Higher Level Learning Support Assistants and Support staff, comprehensive Individual Learning Programmes (ILPs) are drawn up by the Head of Education. These include short and medium term targets linked to long term goals. Individuals’ progress is monitored and mapped on a weekly basis to ensure no opportunity is missed to build individuals’ knowledge, skills, and self-confidence in preparation for post-college adult living. Specific ILP areas of developmental areas are:
- Household Skills
- Independent Learning Skills
- Numeracy, Literacy, Digital Literacy and Communication Skills (Essential Skills),
- Health & Well-being. Read our Estyn Reports
Inclusive Lives Provision
In addition the foundation education programme, Coleg Elidyr is home to other young adults within our Inclusive Lives provision. Young people typically enter this provision as ‘Trainees’ and will usually, though not exclusively, have progressed from the college’s foundation education programme. Specific training goals are based on identified individual needs and aspirations and are set in conjunction with parents, relevant professionals and any Development Plans (Wales) or Education & Healthcare Plans (England). A person-centred ‘Destination-led plan’ provides a framework for the setting, monitoring and review of individuals’ goals. The Inclusive Lives provision also accommodates young people who have chosen to maintain a placement at college post being a Trainee by becoming a Community Resident. These placements have lesser focus on target-oriented specific skills development and more on the consolidation, maintenance and development of holistic independence and work skills. Community Residency at Coleg Elidyr is a personalised provision for young people with a wide range of learning difficulties and disabilities. Applicants typically will have completed the College’s education and/or Trainee programme and require further support to develop the skills acquired to successfully live and work within their communities in their post-college lives. Moreover, a recognition has also been made that the progress individuals have made evidences how Coleg Elidyr’s therapeutic environment is conducive to the individuals’ on-going development of skills and knowledge. Other essential components of the Inclusive Lives provision include:
- Longer term residential care and support; (CIW registration up to 65 years of age)
- 52 weeks per year provision;
- Targeted independence skills development, including learning to manage leisure time through developing individual interests and hobbies;
- Targeted multi-disciplinary therapeutic support is based on individual needs through our own assessment processes and those of commissioning authorities. See our admissions pages for details on how to apply or arrange an informal visit.
The creation of therapeutic learning environments through craft-based sessions is an important and integral component of our curriculum. Promoting a sense of balance and well-being our craft curriculum provides a breadth of opportunities for sensory integration to enhance the development of skills and knowledge. We recognise that for many of our young people, connecting with others is a challenge which can result in isolation. We also know that rhythmical and sensory experiences create environments where students can feel safe to build their communication skills and self-confidence. Craft workshops are a natural arena for multisensory experiences. Working alongside others, sharing processes can forge a bond without the initial need for direct, face to face interaction. Craft areas include a weavery, woodwork and green woodwork, candlework, soapmaking, printing and art and design.
Personal Development and Citizenship (PDC)
Our Personal Development and Citizenship curriculum incorporates key aspects of Personal, Social and Health Education (PHSE) such as sex and relationships, Equality and Diversity and healthy living. Delivery is tailored to individual’s needs through timetabled sessions, house Independent Living Skills (ILS), one to one tutorial sessions. Also incorporated is the Duke of Edinburgh Award in which all learners are encouraged and supported to engage and which includes an expedition for those learners in their final year. Duke of Edinburgh award Topics covered include;
- The Duke of Edinburgh Award
- Good attitudes for work/employability
- Welsh culture
- Drugs and alcohol
- Healthy living
- Equality and diversity
- Personal skills
- Rights and responsibilities
- Sex and relationships.
- CV preparation and destination planning
The College farm and garden are part of what makes Coleg Elidyr a unique and positive learning environment for our students. Land based studies offer many meaningful opportunities for learning and the acquisition of vocational skills. In weighing out animal feed, checking animal welfare, installing fencing, chopping logs, helping to maintain the college grounds or cultivating herbs and vegetables in the kitchen garden, learners can apply literacy and numeracy skills and demonstrate responsibility within a context that is purposeful and age appropriate. Equally, working in such close proximity to the land allows students to follow all stages in the natural process, as each season gives way to another. The rhythms of the seasons help to connect the learners to the natural world and offer a holistic experience of living and learning that is therapeutic in the most fundamental sense.
Hospitality and Retail
Our Hospitality and Retail learning pathway, provides students with the opportunity to focus development on independence, employability and essential skills. Our Bed and Breakfast facility Ty Collen provides students with a wide range of vocational learning opportunities. This includes managing bookings, preparing rooms for guests, cooking breakfasts and other catering for college visitors. The development of independence and essential skills is an important element of this pathway, particularly in our college shop. Students are involved in ordering and rotating stock as well as delivering orders to the six residential houses. It is here that students build their skills and knowledge of vocational learning in preparation for external work placements.
Mindful that our students are with us for a comparably short time in their lives, we aim to do all we can to prepare students for post-college life. To do this we identify and pursue work-experience opportunities in line with individuals’ interests and aspirations. All our students engage in a wide range of work experience placements both onsite and with local organisations and businesses including the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, Aberglasney House and Gardens, Lleuest Pony Trust and Many Tears Animal Rescue. We also work very closely with an award winning local social enterprise Myddfai Trading which supplies luxury toiletries for the hospitality industry through the provision of meaningful work experience and volunteering opportunities for people with learning difficulties and disabilities. All our students are supported in developing their personal CV’s so that they can take evidence of their knowledge and skills with them as they progress their post-college adult lives. In recognition of the work they have done, all eligible students are supported in achieving ‘Millennium Volunteers’ Certification.